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Life's Little Annoyances

People asking "Where can I buy your books?"

What on earth do they mean by that?

Where do we usually buy books, folks?

This is particularly annoying in the age of internet, where, even when they're self-published, the answer is always "Amazon."

Comments

( 54 comments — Leave a comment )
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teriegarrison
Dec. 20th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
My *mother* used to ask me this question all the time. I'm not sure she understands even now that my books are *not* self-published. After all, I'm just, yanno, her daughter. :-) Bless her to bits, but still!
woodburner
Dec. 20th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
My mother seems to think that all authors are celebrities. On a few occasions, I've mentioned things that happened in online conversations with one author or another, and she always expresses disbelief that it could have possibly been the real author in question. Authors are too famous-y and busy writing books to be on the internet! It must have been somebody pretending to be them.
(no subject) - teriegarrison - Dec. 20th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - woodburner - Dec. 20th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teriegarrison - Dec. 21st, 2008 09:11 am (UTC) - Expand
huladavid
Dec. 20th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Well, I can speak from experience that the truck stop outside Cassellton, ND (by the family farm) doesn't carry 'em. Refrigerator magnets of apparently transvestite bison, however...
theloa
Dec. 20th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
I've seen your books in several bookstores here in Iceland (even though I bought mine on Amazon). So... uh... you can tell them that.
ellen_kushner
Dec. 20th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, good! "In Iceland!" I love it.
nancylebov
Dec. 20th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
People sometimes need to be told that if they're buying my buttons, it doesn't matter where I live, at least so far as the first world is concerned.

This suggests that people haven't emotionally assimilated the idea of a postal service yet. It's probably a little much to expect them to remember the internet.
movingfinger
Dec. 20th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
If they mean "right this minute or tomorrow morning" it's because they want you to say "Bob's, two blocks away" kind of thing. This would require you to know who has your books in stock, everywhere. Hmmm, tricky.

There are a lot of people who still haven't shopped at Amazon. And I think a lot of people go into bookstores and see only the face-out displays. They don't realize that the bookstore (unless it's a Borders, say, or a specialist) will order anything they can think of that's in print for them, if they ask.

They are not on sale at the theater, I take it... maybe next year...?
ellen_kushner
Dec. 20th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
(They are on sale at the theatre.)

Thank you for the analysis; this is kind of what I was hoping for by way of illumination on how other people might think.
(no subject) - drcpunk - Dec. 21st, 2008 07:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - drcpunk - Dec. 21st, 2008 07:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ellen_kushner - Dec. 25th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
lyonesse
Dec. 20th, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC)
possibly they ask in case you are soon to be doing a signing, or would like to support local businesses, or you know of some sparkly lovely edition being printed someplace? i personally have a plurality of "privilege of the sword" for the last two reasons....
ellen_kushner
Dec. 25th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
Lovely!
twistedsheets10
Dec. 20th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC)
My first thought was the bookstore, aha, because I'm too technologically inept for Amazon. :(

Perhaps the people who asked thought your books were rare and were only sold in specific places?
coppervale
Dec. 20th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
The one that gets me:

"What do you do?"

"I'm an author."

"Published?"

:/
mizkit
Dec. 20th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
Oh yes. :)
In defense... - isabelswift - Dec. 20th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense... - justinhowe - Dec. 20th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense... - movingfinger - Dec. 20th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense... - julieandrews - Dec. 20th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense... - nancylebov - Dec. 21st, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense... - ellen_kushner - Dec. 20th, 2008 09:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense... - drcpunk - Dec. 21st, 2008 08:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense... - ellen_kushner - Dec. 25th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense... - drcpunk - Dec. 25th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: In defense... - nancylebov - Dec. 21st, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosefox - Dec. 20th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - coppervale - Dec. 20th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rosefox - Dec. 20th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - drcpunk - Dec. 21st, 2008 08:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ellen_kushner - Dec. 25th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - drcpunk - Dec. 25th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
bibliofilen
Dec. 20th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)
This is insane but probably intended to be polite small talk. Those people are probably trying to prove that their interest in your work is genuine and that they actually read books and will read yours too. They are just very stupid about it.
ellen_kushner
Dec. 20th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
Excellent insight. Thank you!
dryfoo
Dec. 20th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
You could take it as an opportunity to get oddly over-specific, like "Try the Fantasy section of any bookstore, or the SF & Fantasy section, snuggled all nice and kentucky right in between Kurtz & Lackey."
ellen_kushner
Dec. 20th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
Though not, as in this case, THE GOLDEN DREYDL.
dyfferent
Dec. 20th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Ebay or Waterstones.
kalimac
Dec. 20th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
When Lin Carter wrote his book on the history of fantasy, he got letters asking him who wrote this "Arabian Nights" thing he referred to, and where they could find it.

What I wonder is, how did people that slow figure out where to write him?
julieandrews
Dec. 20th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC)
Maybe they're hoping you'll pull a book out of your pocket and offer to give it to them and autograph it right then and there.
ellen_kushner
Dec. 20th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Aha! Maybe so.
oracne
Dec. 20th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
I have been receiving this question as well. Are they gently trying to find out if I'm self-published, or something? Do they think I'll say, "from the guy in the overcoat who hides behind the dumpster?"

*puzzled*
ellen_kushner
Dec. 25th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
Yes! Thank you! That is what I meant!
elorie
Dec. 20th, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
Two possible, more charitable interpretations:

1) They are giving you the opportunity to say, "I have some copies" because many authors do sell copies of their books (especially if they are running around doing readings) and the author makes more money off those, or...

2) They are really asking "Which bookstore do you recommend/treats you nicest?"
ckd
Dec. 20th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
Especially the latter. Though I'm not an author, I'll almost always buy my SFF from the local specialty store rather than a chain or Amazon, because I want them to be around to have author signings and stuff.
(no subject) - ellen_kushner - Dec. 25th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 54 comments — Leave a comment )

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